Google Pixel 8a: Everything you need to know

The Google Pixel 8a in all colors
(Image credit: Google)

When it comes to value, it's impossible to beat the Pixel A-series. While it started from humble roots, phones like the Google Pixel 8a are now powerhouse devices tucked into unassuming price tags. Compared to everything else in the sub-$500 range, there's simply nothing like a Pixel A-series phone.

This year marks a rather impressive update that doesn't come at the expense of a raised price tag — not in the U.S., anyway — including a Google Tensor G3 processor, a new 120Hz Actua AMOLED display capable of 2,000 nits of peak brightness, a slight battery size increase, and all the AI features people have come to love from Google Pixel phones.

In other words, unless you need a telephoto camera or a manual camera mode, there's not much of a reason to spend more money on the more expensive Pixel 8 or Pixel 8 Pro. Google is even offering a model with 256GB of storage for folks needing a bit more wiggle room, meaning most of the minor negative points of the Pixel 7a got fixed with this year's release.

Not convinced yet? Our Google Pixel 8a review will let you know if it's worth it, but if you just want to learn about the phone, keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about the Google Pixel 8a.

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Google Pixel 8a: Price and availability

All Google Pixel 8a colorways arranged around the name of the phone

(Image credit: Google)

The Google Pixel 8a was announced one week ahead of Google I/O 2024, with preorders starting on May 7, 2024. Devices will ship on May 14 — the start day for Google I/O 2024 — and the phone comes in four colorways: Obsidian, Porcelain, Bay, and Aloe.

Google ships the phone in two varieties. One model features 128GB of storage and retails for $499, while the second model bumps up the storage to 256GB for $100 more. The best Google Pixel 8a deals will get you the phone for cheaper or even free, especially if you have an old phone to trade in.

These are all the countries where the Google Pixel 8a is launching:

  • U.S.
  • Canada
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Ireland
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • UK
  • Australia
  • India
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan

Google Pixel 8a: Design and displays

All of the official color options for the Google Pixel 8a

(Image credit: Google)

The Google Pixel 8a received some comforting design changes this year, sporting significantly rounder corners and a matte composite back texture for a more premium look and feel. The rounder corners should make it more comfortable to hold than the more squared Pixel 7a, while the matte back means this phone won't be a fingerprint magnet like the Pixel 6a and 7a were.

The phone features a 100% recycled aluminum housing and camera bar, and that matte aluminum frame winds its way all the way around the phone. Plus, the matte plastic back is also made of 76% recycled plastic and the packaging is 100% plastic-free.

The phone shares a significant resemblance to the Pixel 8 but is 2mm taller and 2mm wider than that phone.

Around the front, the Google Pixel 8a received a notable display upgrade this year, bumping the refresh rate up to 120Hz. That's an impressive improvement over the 90Hz display on the Pixel 7a.

The Actua AMOLED display on the Pixel 8a sports up to 2,000 nits of peak brightness and 1,400 nits in HDR content. The display features Gorilla Glass 3 over the top, which should provide decent drop and scratch protection. There's no word on the PWM rate of the display but we'll test that once we have a unit in-house.

Google Pixel 8a: Cameras

A person holding an Obsidian Google Pixel 8a

(Image credit: Google)

The Google Pixel 8a uses the same cameras as the Pixel 7a, including a main 64MP sensor and a 13MP ultrawide angle sensor on the back. The front-facing camera is 13MP, as well.

While it might seem like a bummer not to get upgraded camera hardware, Google is including a ton of new AI features that it launched with the more expensive Pixel 8 series, including Best Take, Magic Editor, and Real Tone for Video. As the Pixel 7a debuted major camera hardware upgrades, it makes sense for Google to keep the same sensors to keep costs low.

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Pixel 8a camera specs
CategoryMain cameraUltrawide cameraFront-facing camera
Resolution64 MP13 MP13 MP
Pixel size0.8 μm1.12 μm1.12 μm
Field of view80°120°96.5°
ZoomDigital up to 8xN/ADigital
Image sensor size1/1.73-inchN/AN/A
StabilizationOptical + electronicOptical + electronicN/A
FocusQuad phase detectionN/AFixed focus
Video quality4K up to 60FPS, Slow-mo up to 240FPS4K up to 60FPS, Slow-mo up to 240FPS4K up to 30FPS, Slow-mo up to 240FPS

However, the Pixel 8a doesn't include all the features of the Pixel 8 Pro. There's no manual camera mode and no support for Video Boost. If those are must-have features, you'll have to spend a bit more money on a Pixel 8 Pro.

Still, we fully expect the Pixel 8a to have the best camera on a mid-range phone, just as the Pixel 7a and Pixel 6a did before it.

Google Pixel 8a: Specs and performance

The Aloe Google Pixel 8a alongside recycled materials

(Image credit: Google)

The Pixel 8a packs in a Google Tensor G3 processor, the same as the more expensive Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. Tensor G3 is a more efficient processor than the Tensor G2 before it, delivering similar daily performance without the overheating issues present in many Tensor G2-powered phones.

The real improvement in Tensor G3 is its AI processing power, something Google spent a lot of time talking about during the Pixel 8 series launch. Because of that, Google was able to bring over many of the best Pixel 8 AI features, including Best Take, Magic Editor, Audio Magic Eraser, and more.

Other great features like Circle to Search, Pixel Call Assist, and Live translate are also included in the Pixel 8a experience.

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Google Pixel 8a specs vs Pixel 7a
CategoryGoogle Pixel 7aGoogle Pixel 8a
ChipsetGoogle Tensor G2Google Tensor G3
Storage128GB UFS 3.1128GB/256GB UFS 3.1
Display6.1-inch AMOLED, 2400x1080 resolution (429 ppi), 90Hz, HDR10+, 1,000 nits, Gorilla Glass 36.1-inch AMOLED Actua Display, 2400x1080 resolution (430 ppi), 120Hz, HDR10+, 1,400 nits, Gorilla Glass 3
Rear Camera 164MP, ƒ/1.89, 0.8μm pixel size, OIS, 4K video @ 30/60FPS, 240FPS super slow-mo video64MP, ƒ/1.89, 0.8μm pixel size, OIS, 4K video @ 30/60FPS, 240FPS super slow-mo video
Rear Camera 213MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.12μm pixel size, 120-degree FoV, OIS, 4K video @ 30 FPS13MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.12μm pixel size, 120-degree FoV, OIS, 4K video @ 30 FPS
Front Camera13MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.12μm pixel size, 95-degree FoV, 4k video @ 30FPS13MP, ƒ/2.2, 1.12μm pixel size, 95-degree FoV, 4k video @ 30FPS
Battery4385 mAh, 18W wired charging, 5W Qi wireless charging4492 mAh, 18W wired charging, 5W Qi wireless charging
Dimensions152mm x 72.9mm x 9.0mm152.1 mm x 72.7 mm x 8.9 mm
Weight193.5 grams188 grams
Water and dust resistanceIP67IP67
SecurityTitan M2 Security Chip, VPN by Google One, In-screen fingerprint sensorTitan M2 Security Chip, VPN by Google One, In-screen fingerprint sensor
ColorsCharcoal, Sea, Snow, CoralObsidian, Porcelain, Bay, Aloe
OSAndroid 14 with Pixel featuresAndroid 14 with Pixel features
Update guaranteeFive years of Pixel updatesSeven years of Pixel updates

Google's Guided Frame is also seeing a notable improvement by allowing the feature to work on the rear camera, further helping users with vision impairment issues.

The Pixel 8a includes 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of internal storage but no support for removable microSD card storage. The included Titan M2 security chip has become a mainstay of Pixel security, and Google is also upgrading the Pixel 8a with seven years of Pixel updates.

Google specifically highlights that the Pixel 8a has the same privacy and security features as the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro. Like all Pixel phones, the Pixel 8a comes with a free VPN by Google One.

While the wired charging speed is the same 18W as previous Pixel A-series phones, the wireless charging speed of the Pixel 8a has seen a small bump to 7.5W Qi charging.

All in all, it's a respectable upgrade for what was already our favorite cheap Android phone.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu